Monday, September 28, 2009

Picking up the Plug, maybe....

There’s been some recent issues that have centered on adequacy of existing water supply systems and pre-fire planning information that should be available to incident commanders and company officers to assist in the identification of appropriate or alternate water sources and systems to support the fire suppression demands of incident operations and strategic and tactical Incident Actions Plans.

Check out the central issues affecting one agency at Statter911 HERE, HERE and HERE and at Firehouse.com, HERE.

When ever there is an incident requiring Fire Department intervention that in turn requires water for application or in support of operational demands; incident command needs and requires timely, accurate and accessible information that can be retrieved for; water supply source(s), availability, reliability, sustainability, capacity, flow rates, gallons-per minute, location, limitations, etc. Pre-fire planning and coordination with other local agencies responsible for the area water systems must be instituted and maintained.

Here’s some useful information for you to look at further and assess your capabilities and limitations;


· NFPA 1720, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Fire Departments, 2010 Edition
· NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting, 2007 edition.
· Fire departments, when conducting pre-fire planning, should use NFPA 1620, Recommended Practice for Pre-Incident Planning, 2003 Edition for fires and other related emergencies.
· NFPA 1620, Recommended Practice for Pre-Incident Planning, 2003 Edition
· Fire protection systems and water supplies should be determined in the development of, and specifically noted in, the pre-incident plan.
· Adequacy of Water for Fire Fighting. The adequacy of available water for sprinkler systems, inside and outside hose streams, and any other special requirements or needs should be considered when evaluating a site for its fire loss potential.
· Required Fire Flow. The required fire flow should be determined by evaluating the site in terms of size of the building (e.g., height, number of floors, and area), construction type, occupancy, exposures, fire protection systems, and any other features that could affect the amount of water needed to control or extinguish the fire.
· A water supply test should be conducted in accordance with NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants, 2010 Edition
· NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, 2010 Edition
· Initial Full Alarm Assignment Capability. The fire department shall have the capability to deploy an initial full alarm assignment within a 480-second travel time to 90 percent of the incidents. The initial full alarm assignment to a structure fire in a typical 2000 ft2 (186 m2), two-story single-family dwelling without basement and with no exposures shall provide for the following:
· Establishment of an uninterrupted water supply of a minimum of 400 gpm (1520 L/min) for 30 minutes with supply line(s) maintained by an operator.
· Establishment of an effective water flow application rate of 300 gpm (1140 L/min) from two handlines, each of which has a minimum flow rate of 100 gpm (380 L/min) with each handline operated by a minimum of two individuals to effectively and safely maintain the line.

Also, check out this informational web site on Fire Hydrants and Water Supply issues, HERE.

NFA Alternative Water Supply: Planning and Implementing Programs (Q217) free On-line course on alternative water supply that is designed to assist fire chiefs, water authorities, public policy officials, and others whose responsibility it is to plan for and implement programs that allow for the use of alternative water sources during structural firefighting operations. HERE

NFA Testing and Evaluation of Water Supplies for Fire Protection (Q218)This course offers the opportunity to understand the testing and evaluation of water supplies, and also provides reference resources and several printable graph forms. The course covers the following areas: testing and evaluation of available water supplies for water supply systems; on-site storage systems; and rural areas not served by a water supply; determining water supply for automatic sprinklers, standpipe systems, and for fire suppression activities. HERE


Bottom line: You need to understand your buildings, occupancies, fire load and fire demand; coupled with knowing the charactoristics of your water system(s), it's capabilities and limitations, and your district or response area's risk and operational needs.

Maybe it's the right time to plan for some much needed training in this operational area? Do you have any "gaps" that need to be addressed?

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